1697 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Dryden

George Granville, "To Mr. Dryden on his Translations" Works of Virgil (1697) sig. tt.



As Flow'rs transplanted from a Southern Sky,
But hardly bear, or in the raising dye,
Missing their Native Sun, at best retain
But a faint Odour, and but live with Pain:
So Roman Poetry by Moderns taught,
Wanting the Warmth with which its Author wrote,
Is a dead Image, and a worthless Draught.
While we translate, the nimble Spirit flies,
Escapes unseen, evaporates, and dyes.

Who then attempt to shew the Ancients Wit,
Must copy with the Genius that they writ.
Whence we conclude from thy translated Song,
So just, so warm, so smooth, and yet so strong,
Thou Heav'nly Charmer! Soul of Harmony!
That all their Geniusses reviv'd in thee.

Thy Trumpet sounds, the dead are rais'd to Light,
New-born they rise, and take to Heav'n their Flight;
Deckt in thy Verse, as clad with Rayes, they shine
All Glorify'd, Immortal and Divine.

As Britain, in rich Soil abounding wide,
Furnish'd for Use, for Luxury, and Pride,
For Foreign Wealth, insatiate still of more;
To her own Wooll, the Silks of Asia joins,
To her own plenteous Harvests, Indian Mines:
So Dryden, not contented with the Fame
Of his own Works, tho' an immortal Name,
To Lands remote he sends his learned Muse,
The Noblest Seeds of Foreign Wit to chuse.
Say, Is't thy Bounty, or thy Thirst of Praise?
That by comparing others, all might see,
Who most excell'd, are yet excell'd by thee.